Recession-busting business concepts such as Cash Generator report improved performance during periods of economic decline. Stuart Anderson reports
'People like a bargain all the time,' explains Cash Generator Founder Brian Lewis. 'However, when the economic climate worsens many people can fall into financial difficulty - at these times our offering actually becomes more attractive to a wider audience. Consumer confidence is fragile, but the one place they keep on spending is in discount stores where they can achieve absolute value for money in the products they buy.'
The Cash Generator business concept combines three income streams, which diversify the business and allow it to prosper in a wide range of market conditions. The importance of this is not lost on Kilmarnock franchisee Alan Murdoch who rebounded from redundancy to build his own business with Cash Generator. 'The three income streams dovetail into one great business,' he explains. 'We generate revenue through the buying and selling of second-hand, new and graded goods, buyback fees and a cheque cashing service. The business will succeed in any economic climate - it's recession proof. It's also a lot of fun.'
The three prongs of the Cash Generator concept are each designed to thrive in times of recession. 'The sale of pre-owned goods attracts a lot of customers looking to maximise their value for money,' reflects Brian Lewis. 'We also offer part exchange deals for our products, providing choice and flexibility for all our customers, rich and poor.'
The buying of pre-owned goods also provides a method for customers to raise money, at the same time adding to the varied product range available. 'During a recession the banks start losing business as their customers go bust,' Brian adds. 'The first to feel the squeeze is 'Joe Public'. Credit becomes harder and more expensive to obtain and there is a greater need to raise cash. We are absolutely right for these situations.'
Another effect of the banks tightening their belts is the closing down of many current accounts, leaving many customers high and dry when it comes to the ability to cash cheques. 'We provide a third party cheque cashing facility that makes us the fastest cash provider to local communities when other avenues are closed down,' Brian reports. 'If any one of these areas of business is affected by market conditions, we still prosper in the others.'
The announcement by high street group Dixons of plans to close down its UK network if its sales fail to improve this year highlights the challenge facing certain retailers in dealing with periods of economic downturn. 'An opinion poll of our 80 plus store network overwhelmingly indicated that the next two years will bring more troubling economic news for the UK,' Brian comments. 'The Cash Generator business was actually set up at the end of the last recession in '93/'94. Our turnover continues to grow - Cash Generator has made a profit every year since its launch.'
Individuals seeking to establish a retail business with Cash Generator need not have previous experience, as Franchise Development Director Robin Page reveals: 'We're looking for individuals who have general management ability, communication skills and a readiness to deliver superb service. We're capitalising on a concept designed to suit a range of potential franchisees, from those with no retail experience through to multi-store business builders. Enthusiasm, dedication and the right attitude to lead a team create successful businessmen.'